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Orcasphere » Blackmouth fishing in the San Juans and beyond
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Blackmouth fishing in the San Juans and beyond

Last weekend was the beginning of blackmouth season in Marine Area 7 (the San Juan Archipelago and vicinity).  I’ve been wondering if WDFW should encourage fishing for Puget Sound resident Chinook as there are some indications that resident Chinook are loading up J pod with persistent pollutants, while decreasing fishing pressure on Fraser River Chinook (their summertime favorite) as well as whatever less-polluted fish they eat during the wintertime.

The appended WDFW email announcement just came out and essentially encourages blackmouth fishing.  How many blackmouth of what ages (and pollutant levels) get harvested by humans each year?  How many are harvested by killer whales?  What is WDFW doing to get clean fish into the SRKWs?  What else could we do as a society.

Puget Sound anglers are currently abuzz about salmon fishing in Marine Area 7, where the first weekend of the blackmouth season yielded a fish for every two rods. The fishery continues daily through April 15, under regulations outlined in the state Fishing in Washington  rules pamphlet.

“Blackmouth fishing in the San Juans is off to a smoking start,” said Steve Thiesfeld, a fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).  “Over the last several years, the Islands have been a great place to go blackmouth fishing.”

Four more areas of Puget Sound will open to fishing for resident chinook Feb. 14, including marine areas 5 (Sekiu), 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 11 (Tacoma-Vashon) and 12 (Hood Canal).

1/21/09 announcement said:

Blackmouth salmon:   One in three anglers have been catching hatchery chinook in Marine Area 8-1 (Deception Pass to Skagit Bay) in Puget Sound.  Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands) opens Feb. 1 and marine areas 5, 6, 11 and 12 open to blackmouth fishing Feb. 14.

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